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Lancet. 1990 Jul 28;336(8709):193-7.

Comparison of placebo with L-thyroxine alone or with carbimazole for treatment of sporadic non-toxic goitre.

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Department of Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The efficacy of treatment with TSH-suppressive doses of L-thyroxine (T4, 2.5 micrograms/kg body weight daily) either alone or combined with carbimazole (CBZ, 40 mg daily) was studied in 78 patients with sporadic non-toxic goitre in a prospective placebo-controlled double-blind randomised clinical trial. Treatment was given for 9 months, with 9 months of follow-up. A response to treatment as measured by ultrasonography was found in 58% of the T4 group, in 35% of the T4/CBZ group, and in 5% of the placebo group. The mean (SEM) decrease of thyroid volume at 9 months in the responders was 25% (2). After discontinuation of treatment, thyroid volume increased in the responders and had returned to base-line values after 9 months of follow-up. In the placebo group mean thyroid volume had increased by 6% (4) at 4 months, 20% (7) at 9 months, and 27% (8) at 18 months. The findings show that untreated sporadic non-toxic goitre continues to increase in size; T4 is effective in the treatment of the disorder; and the addition of CBZ has no therapeutic advantage.

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